Marep 9 contracts extended amid forex crisis
By Wezzie Gausi
The Ministry of Energy has extended contracts for the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep) suppliers even as the forex crisis rages.
On January 8 2023, Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni told the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change that the suppliers had failed to deliver items despite receiving 30 percent of their payments.
He told the committee that it was not possible to roll out Marep 9, which was slated to start in April this year.
Chikuni further told committee members that contracts for the 30 Marep material suppliers would expire on January 25 2023.
But, speaking to The Daily Times on condition of anonymity, one of the suppliers said the government had extended their contracts.
“The government would have found it difficult to terminate the contracts as it was not their fault that materials were not delivered. We have been failing to source forex.
“So, it was going to be very unfair if our contracts were to be terminated. After all, there were going to be some lawsuits, which could have been more costly on the part of the government,” the source said.
Chikuni confirmed the extension of the contracts in an interview.
He said the ministry felt that it is a win-win situation to extend the contracts for another three months from Jan 25 2023.
“Unfortunately, the main challenge, which is forex, does not seem to be over yet. In the future, localisation of materials and equipment will be a choice.
“We shouldn’t be importing poles, conductors, transformers etc when we, as a country, can enhance the capabilities of the private sector to manufacture these internally,” Chikuni said.
In 2021,the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) ordered the Ministry of Energy to restart the procurement process for the supply of materials under Marep 9.
On June 23 2021, the bureau stopped the ministry from issuing contracts to supply materials under contract number 047/MoE-Marep-PH9-G-NCB- 2020/2021FY-08.